Why Business Policies
When you work for someone else and you are put into an existing system and culture. They’ve created their systems, policies, and procedures and as an employee you’re expected to conform. These policies set up the rules of conduct within an organization and expectations of both the employee and the employer. Working for someone else’s business likely means there is an employee handbook, policies surrounding job performance & duties, and procedures for job performance.
But when you work for yourself, that stuff is on you. You are the one who’s solely responsible for creating and implementing business policies & procedures. You’ve likely not thought much about them. Especially if you’re the only employee in your company. Doesn’t make much sense to create policies and detailed descriptions of job duties when it’s just you.
Business Policies Aren’t Personal
But creating business policies can create order, boundaries, and professionalism in your business - even if you are the judge, jury, and implementor. Creating business policies eases the pressure on you personally. Here is what I mean:
Client (via text): I was thinking we should use a different floral in the bedroom.
Designer (via email): Hi Client, I received your text regarding choosing a different floral in the bedroom. I’d love to send you a couple of alternative options. As a reminder, it’s business policy to not use text messages. It helps keep a record of communication so nothing gets lost.
Saying it is a business policy or Your Business Name policy gives it an umbrella to live under. You may be the business, but stating it as a business policy puts some subjective space between you and the business. You're just following business policy, which most people are taught to respect, even when we try to push personal boundaries. I don’t text is weaker and creates more capacity for appeal than it’s our policy. It is much harder to argue with a policy.
Business policies are blankets. It shows the clients that this is the standard and how every one is treated. You’re not personally deciding these things on the spot, they are established business policies.
Examples of Business Policies
It's our policy to not use text message in business.
It's company policy to stop work if bills haven't been paid.
Our policy is to deliver everything to a receiving warehouse rather than deliver piecemeal.
According to company policy, payments are due within two weeks.
It’s against company policy to take clients shopping.
Sorry, company policy prohibits dating a client.
Our company policy is to create one design plan and present at the first design meeting, we then can reselect anything that doesn’t resonate with you at that time.
Per company policy, we don’t negotiate our fees.
Turning Business Policies into Business Systems
Business policies can be a gateway into creating systems. Because likely something you need a policy for also needs a system created to execute, enforce, apply, or uphold it.
So that text message example above you would want to create a process to let clients know from the beginning that you don’t use text and the reasoning behind it. (Read more about using text for business here.) Then you would want to list the steps if a client did text - which would probably include responding via email with a reminder that it’s your policy to not use texts.